Is anyone else completely bogged down by email overload? Is your inbox thousands of emails deep and you find the you’re missing important emails or neglecting to reply? Do you crave the days of a zero inbox? That was SO ME!
Well, I’m here to tell you there is a BETTER way! You won’t believe how simple it is.
At the top of your Gmail account, when you’re selecting an email (via check box or clicking on it), there’s an ARCHIVE button. Unlike Outlook and email programs of old…archiving does not take your email and hide it in some remote location that is impossible to find later. The emails are still just a quick search away, they just don’t appear in your inbox. Amazing! Seriously. This was life changing for me.
Before you start thinking about the thousands of old emails you’ll have to sort through…first do an inbox cleanup. Pick a date in the past (30 days might be a good starting point) and run this search.
That will pull up all emails older than 30 days (or the number of days you choose). Click the down arrow next to the check box above the list to “select all”, then click the link at the top of your list to “Select all #### conversations” and then click the Archive button. That will leave you with a much more approachable list to sift through. If you’re still seeing a ton of unnecessary emails, run a new search for 15 days or whatever you think best.
While you’re cleaning things up, you may also want to take a good look at some of the recurring emails you get. Do you really need to have your bank emailing you every alert or would a text be more effective? Are there any ad emails you can unsubscribe to? If it all seems a little overwhelming, there’s a great app out there called Unroll.Me which also has an option for a nice summary email.
Once you’re down to just a few emails, give a little thought to how you’ll manage any new emails in future.
Here are my current rules:
1. DELETE anything that you read don’t need (ads, one-off information, junk mail etc.).
2. REPLY and ARCHIVE anything that you can easily reply to, do it! Then archive so it’s out of sight, out of mind. If the person replies, it’ll reappear back in your inbox.
3. ARCHIVE anything that you read and might want to save in case it’s needed in the future (statements, newsletters, pictures or emails from friends). Create some filters and labels that can help with this process too, automate it and make it easy on yourself!
I only leave things in my inbox if I have to reply to it or am waiting for a reply. If it sits for more than a day or two, I go back to my rules and manage it or deal with it outside of email. More often than not, I’ll set a reminder for myself, snap a picture or add it to my to-do list outside of email.
Having a clean inbox has done wonders for my productivity. Rather than getting bogged down in my email, I can handle it in a few minutes and move on to more important things.
What are your biggest email frustrations? Email me and let’s see how I can help!
PS: I have a few different email addresses I use so I make sure to organize them all in one place. Gmail works for this, but so does the native Mail app from iOS or OS X. and likely other applications too. Just make sure you’re checking your email in one place for your phone and one place for your desktop. As long as that app has the functionality to archive, you’re good to go.